19 June 2017

This is a "toddler bike race"

Outside provides the necessary details:
A long row of pre-school-aged kids, aboard low-slung bikes with no brakes or pedals, takes off from a start ramp like a pack of greyhounds. The kids kick their bikes up to speeds that would make most adults uncomfortable, and carve through the course’s maze of sharp corners with tenacity and grace.

A few kids don’t make it. They splay out across the track in a pile of elbow and kneepads and full-face helmets. And then, there’s one kid, coming from behind, who executes a perfect pass on his recently potty-trained competitors and crosses the line first, his chest forward in an elated victory celebration...

Today, anyone who's serious about teaching a kid to ride at an early age will likely eschew training wheels in favor of a balance bike. Dozens of different companies now sell them, including every major bike brand. This transformation in kids' bike technology has led to an entire generation of toddlers who rip on two wheels.
Among my group of dad friends in Austin—roadies and mountain bikers who might pull up their Strava feed over a pint of beer—the kids who start out on balance bikes often master cycling at a mind-bogglingly early age. One buddy’s kid switched to a pedal bike at just two years old, and was churning out 20-mile rides by three.


  1. It is my understanding that balance bikes are not just for the very young. In general training wheels are out of favor with those who teach cycling skills.

    The theory being that balance is the difficult skill to master and that adding peddling afterwards is fairly easy.

  2. A quick note for the less affluent: You do not have to go out and buy a hipster balance bike designed for kids. Take an old bike that is on the small side for the child. A couple minute with some wrenches and you can remove the pedal assembly, lower the seat so they can touch the ground, tie up the chain or remove it.

    I put my son on one and we went to 2 large parking lots with sloping hills. He rode down them a few times each, balancing longer and longer with each run. His skills infused into his brain and his confidence freshly in hand... I ended up putting the pedals back on the very next day!! Pedaling to provide power was still a little awkward at first, but he could always get it moving and rest his feet on the pedals and coast. I was shocked at how little time it took for him to get riding.


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